At Mozambique Restaurant, spice savants infuse artfully arranged platters with the exotic zest of South African cuisine, hatching a diverse menu of grilled steaks, seafood, and specialty platters. Sealed in by the flickering caress of a hardwood grill, savory juices seek shelter inside a 9-ounce center-cut filet mignon ($34), and pearled couscous cradles fresh cuts of wild salmon cloaked in a saffron wine sauce ($22). Transport tongues to foreign shores with a starter plate of shelled peri-peri prawns ($12) before diving fork-first into the piquant tides of seafood curry, which arrives stacked with shrimp, lobster, and scallops ($27). Set the mood for a first date or send a message to rival grapes by ordering from a cavalcade of aged wines, which includes white, red, and full-bodied selections.
When you set foot inside Original Roadhouse Grill, you may hear a crunch. Look down, and you’ll see hundreds of peanut shells scattered across the floor— remnants of the complimentary peanuts served by the bucketful. Country music and classic rock plays from an old-fashioned jukebox as servers perform lively line dances amidst walls of colorful knickknacks and neon signs. The atmosphere is equally as energetic in the kitchen, where open-air mesquite-wood grills roar with flames that sizzle hand-cut USDA Washington State steaks, juicy bison burgers, and thick slabs of ribs. To craft their renowned Texas egg rolls, the creative cooks fry up plump wonton shells stuffed with cream cheese and jalapeños. Servers bear the heavy platters into the dining room, along with cups of regional beers and mason jars of Wild West–inspired cocktails—such as a Luckenbach lemonade and a Bootlegger iced tea. The restaurant staff encourages guests to dress casually, welcoming worn blue jeans, comfortable T-shirts, and loose-fitting wedding gowns.
In homage to Philadelphia, The CheeseSteak Grill transplants the City of Brotherly Love's authentic recipes, hearth-baked Amoroso's rolls, and liberating meats tenderized by Rocky's justice-laden fists. The menu tips its tri-cornered hat to taste with signature items such as the 12" steak or chicken cheesesteak, dripping in melted cheese and caramelized onions ($8.59), or its cousin, the foot-long cheesesteak hoagie, loaded with steak, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and your choice of cheesy topping—provolone cheese, white american cheese, or cheese whiz ($8.99). Making a layover in the Midwest, the chefs also serve up Italian beef dips with roast beef and Chicago-style sauce ($8.45 for a foot-long), as well as kid-friendly fare served with fries and a drink, such as home-style chicken tenders ($4.99) and classic corndogs made with real, all-beef Nathan's dogs ($3.99). Philly fanatics can pair any edible with a fine selection from a list of microbrews, draft beers, and wines, all of which pair nicely with the eatery's sporty satellite TVs and attentive, human-friendly staff.
After graduating from high school, Reza Karkouti dreamed of opening his own teriyaki restaurant. He garnered support from family and friends, and he and his father, Ahad, opened a tiny eatery called Tokyo's Teriyaki in Encinitas in 1992. Through hard work and an attention to detail, the restaurant's reputation grew, and the demand for juicy, teriyaki-glazed chicken and beef quickly spread to other cities. This led Reza’s younger brother, Amir, to help open a second location. Now a seven-location, family-owned chain, Surf Brothers Teriyaki still sees its two siblings focusing on customer service and quality products.
The duo chooses natural meats that are minimally processed, hand trimmed, and grilled, avoiding shortcuts such as microwaves, frozen foods, and laser-based slicing. Their Hawaiian-themed restaurants and catering business have been featured in numerous television spots, radio shows, and newspaper articles. Michelle Murphy Zive of SanDiegoFamily.com says the restaurant offers "a taste of Hawaii" and "healthy food served fast." The brothers give back to the community that helped them grow by donating to charitable organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Homes project.
A small flight of stairs leads guests down into a rustically decorated room, which evokes the ambiance of a subterranean wine cellar with its earthen arches, barrel-lined walls, and soft chandelier lighting. Designed by the artisans who created Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean, the dining room appeals to a similarly nostalgic whimsy. However, the cooks slightly modernize the menu's historic European roots by introducing unexpected ingredients.
The chefs elevate simple grilled-cheese sandwiches by slipping in braised short ribs, caramelized shallots, and horseradish cream alongside the gruyere and monterey jack cheeses, and a splash of cognac adds even more richness to the silken lobster bisque. Thai barbecue-glazed tofu and basmati rice also help to distinguish the menu by lending it a distinctly international flare.
Staying true to its name, The Cellar proudly features a 1,400-bottle wine list, which, according to the staff, helped to garner the restaurant Wine Spectator's exclusive Grand Award. The selection includes familiar staples, boutique producers, and rare vintages from virtually every major wine-producing region except the Marianas Trench.